Remember all that nice stuff I said about the internet the first time I wrote about this incident? About how I got warm fuzzies and realized that people maybe were much more bright and sunshine-y than I had originally thought?
Well, I take it back. People are bastard-coated bastards with a hard, bastard outer layer and disgusting bastard-flavored filling. The entire thing is a hoax. Allegedly.
You probably remember that in the aftermath of this whole thing, KFC donated $30,000 to Victoria's medical bills, which they promised to pay even if the entire thing turned out to be fake, sympathetic suckers all around the world donated to Victoria's GofundMe page, which brought in about $136,000, they got a big ol' KFC picnic from another KFC franchisee, and a number of doctors volunteered to treat Victoria for free, including a plastic surgeon who said he would work on reconstructing her face.
Of course, it's important to remember that the investigation is still ongoing, but here's what KFC has to say about the entire thing so far:
“We continue to take this report seriously, and of course have great sympathy for Victoria and her family. Since we have so far not been able to verify the incident in our internal investigation, we have also hired a third-party consultant to conduct an independent investigation to help us resolve this matter...We have always prided ourselves on respect for all people and we will continue to emphasize this to all our employees. In addition, regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, KFC Corporation has committed $30,000 to assist with Victoria’s medical bills. Along with the KFC Corporation, we are determined to get to the truth and address the situation appropriately.”
Ruh-roh. Third party time. Apparently the first clue something was amiss was the fact that the incident was supposed to have taken place on State Street in Jackson, Mississippi, which doesn't make any sense given that the location has been closed down for a number of years. The store was instead on Woodrow Wilson Avenue.
According to a source for the Laurel Leader-Call;
"...surveillance videos show that at no time on the 15th were any children in the store who match the description of Victoria Wilcher or Mullins. The tapes were viewed in both the Meadowbrook and Woodrow Wilson KFC locations in Jackson, the source said. In hours of tape, the source said one small boy with his parents is seen, but they order food and leave the store."
Then, because of course there's more--why wouldn't there be?--there's this:
"The source said no orders were recorded to include mashed potatoes and sweet tea on the same transaction, or even the two items as part of a larger order on May 15. Mullins told WAPT TV in Jackson shortly after the incident went viral on social media June 12 that: 'I ordered a sweet tea and mashed potatoes and gravy. I sat down at the table and started feeding her and the lady came over and said that we would have to leave, because we were disturbing other customers, that Victoria’s face was disturbing other customers.'"
So it looks like it's all made up. Which is ugly and disturbing and gross because even if the family never set out to make a single cent off of this, they still created a nice little shitstorm, using a three-year-old as a catalyst. Oh, and guess what happened to the workers at both Jackson KFCs?
Death threats. Verbal abuse. Stuff thrown at them through drive-thru windows. You know, the usual. The entire incident kind of baffled them, because being so close to the hopsital, it's not like the staff had never seen an injured person before, according to the source for the Leander-Call:
“We’ve had people come in who were shot in the face. We’ve had them with tubes and wire sticking out. We never have asked anyone to leave.
“There is a physically challenged person working in the Woodrow Wilson location and one of the other (KFC) managers has a child with Tourette’s Syndrome."
So, pretty much the opposite of a pack of raging douches, if the source is to be believed. Which brings up another question. What if the source is a hoaxer? What if the hoax being a hoax is another hoax? A hoaxception? Fool me once, shame on you internet. Fool me upwards of a few hundred times, and I have some serious trust issues.
For their part, KFC is being a bunch of dudes about it, since they are paying the money they promised anyway and are seeing this whole investigation through to the end.
As for the people on GoFundMe, they may be out of luck. GoFundMe's TOS specifically says:
WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY THIRD PARTY CHARITABLE OFFERS THAT MAY TURN OUT TO BE FRAUDULENT, IRRESPONSIBLE, OR OTHERWISE ADVERTISED IN BAD FAITH.
WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY FAILURES ON THE PART OF OUR THIRD PARTY PAYMENT PROCESSORS.
It's in all caps, so you know it's serious, and that if you donated, your money is probably all goneskies.
I think I'm less angry than sad. It's so gross to use your child to grift on people, especially one that's been through so much pain. I seriously hope that the doctors who promised to help her will be able to do so, so that this little girl can go out in to the world with confidence and eventually one day dis-entwine herself from the roving band of (alleged) assholes that are her family.